Community Stories

Water Conservation: One Red Deerian's Story

April 18, 2019

When Cathy and her spouse became homeowners 20 years ago, they became very aware of how everyday activities impacted the environment, and they were determined to minimize their environmental footprint.

Being a gardening enthusiast, Cathy focuses on water conservation while growing her favourite flowers and veggies. One of her favourite tools is a soil meter that indicates soil moisture levels.

“Often, the ground looks completely dry, but once I take a reading with the soil meter, I realize that there’s plenty of water in the soil and don’t need to add as much as I’d thought,” Cathy says.

Cathy also took advantage of The City of Red Deer Rain Barrel Rebate Program to purchase a rain barrel that feeds her garden with rain water instead of relying on tap water. And she always avoids watering during the hottest time of the day to prevent water loss through evaporation.

Achieving a beautiful green lawn can be environmentally-friendly, too. Cathy aerates and dethatches her lawn to improve drainage, mows on a higher blade setting so grass can help the soil retain its moisture, and uses a lawn mower with a self-mulching feature. Repurposing grass clippings to spread on the garden returns valuable nutrients to the soil and lessens the use of fertilizers.

Using these tricks reduces the frequency needed to water lawns. “Water less often and water deep into the roots,” Cathy says. Even if her lawn does brown, she knows the green will return once the weather cools a bit.

Toilets typically use more water than any other appliance. When her high-flow toilet showed signs of aging, Cathy participated in The City of Red Deer’s Toilet Rebate Program and installed a low-flow toilet. And she finds other creative ways to conserve water. “When changing out our dog’s water, I’ll water the house plants with the old water,” Cathy says. And of course, leaving the taps running is a no-no, especially when brushing her teeth.

Why is taking care of our natural resources so important to Cathy? “It’s just the right thing to do. Try challenging yourself to your reduce water use every time you turn that tap on. Every little bit helps, and you’ll save money.”

To learn tips and tricks to conserve water, visit